Dr. Sharon Langenbeck, a longtime member of Santa Clarita’s local Zonta Club, was chosen to be Zonta’s International next president and hopes to expand Zonta’s reach worldwide. Langenbeck was inducted into the role of president for the 2020-2022 term on July 17, and intends to launch projects to aid women’s rights in Peru, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.
Langenbeck previously served as vice-president and international director of the organization, in addition to holding other leadership roles.
“Today, we close out Zonta’s first 100 years,” Langenbeck said during her induction ceremony. “But there is one thing we must never lose sight of from our first 100 years, and that is the vision that our founders in 1919 had for achieving women’s equality.”
The first initiative Langenbeck intends to focus on is “Adolescent Girls’ Health and Protection in Peru,” which has a goal of expanding health services for adolescent girls. The project is set to focus on preventing school violence in the Huancavelica and Ucayali regions of Peru.
With the first initiative, Langenbeck hopes to aid 24 schools with provident health promotion activities that aims to benefit more than 31,000 children.
Additionally, as part of “Adolescent Girls’ Health and Protection in Peru,” 72 principals are set to be trained to recognize and handle violence, while 100 health care professionals are also set to receive training in responding to cases of sexual violence.
Langenbeck’s second project, “Strengthening Response to Gender-Based Violence Survivors in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste,” aims to provide services to women and girls to help them recover from gender-based violence in the long term.
“68 percent of women in this region have experienced some kind of sexual violence,” read a statement by Zonta International. “87.6 percent of men surveyed admitted to physical, emotional or economic abuse against their intimate partners. By providing aid, the goal is to reduce this number by developing a service package for health providers and a curriculum for education.”
A mechanical engineer by trade, Langenback held line and project management positions at the Lockheed-California Company before joining the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the same positions. Langenbeck was also a part-time faculty member at California State University at Northridge where she taught classes in structural materials.
“It is time to focus on the future,” Langenback said in a statement. “Today, we still need to push for change.”